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Gunman attacks Georgia’s ex-defense minister at meeting with voters

October 03, 8:45 UTC+3 TBILISI
Georgia’s former Defense Minister Irakliy Okruashvili said after the incident that his bodyguard and an activist of his election team were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds
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 Georgia’s former Defense Minister Irakliy Okruashvili

Georgia’s former Defense Minister Irakliy Okruashvili

© ITAR-TASS / Alexander Klimchuk

TBILISI, October 3. /TASS/. Georgia’s former Defense Minister Irakliy Okruashvili, who is now running for parliamentary seat, was attacked by an unidentified gunman in the city of Gori, eastern Georgia, on Sunday.

After the incident, Okurashvili told journalists he had not been hurt but his bodyguard and an activist of his election team have been taken to hospital with gunshot wounds. In his words, the incident took place during his meeting with voters and about 30 people witnessed it.

According to local media, the gunman was among those who came for a meeting with Okruashvili. After a verbal debate, the man took out a handgun and opened fire at the former minister. The Georgian Interior Ministry has launched an investigation. The attacker has been identified.

Okruashvili was Georgia’s defense minister in 2005-2006.

Regular parliamentary elections in Georgia will be held on October 8, 2016. Seventy-seven lawmakers will be elected party tickets and the remaining 73 seats in the 150-seat parliament will be contested in one-seat constituencies. Under Georgia’s new constitution of 2010 and enforced in 2012-2013, a party winning the majority of seats in the parliament nominates a candidate for prime minister and forms a new government.

The forthcoming elections have major importance for parties as the new constitution considerably shrinks the competences of the country’s president who is a formal head of state whereas the prime minister as the head of the executive branch is vested with the real controls.

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